Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow was left to rue a closing double bogey at the LPGA Drive On Championships which cost her a top-25 place as she returned a fourth round of two-under par to ultimately finish T34 at Reynolds Lake.
Meadow started from the 10th and recorded four birdies on her front nine before adding another at the 2nd (her 11th) which moved her up to T20 on the leaderboard, but a costly bogey on the 5th (her 14th) and then a double bogey on her final hole took some of the gloss of what was a superb performance.
Meanwhile, Leona Maguire, who had battled incredibly to make the cut recorded her second consecutive 73 (+1) round on the weekend and finished on four-over par for the tournament in T69 place.
At the head of proceedings, America’s Ally McDonald celebrated her 28th birthday in style as she was showered with champagne by friends and family on the back of the 18th green after securing her first LPGA victory.
McDonald, a four-year Tour player, took the title ahead of Race to CME Globe leader and 5-time LPGA winner, Danielle Kang, by one stroke and said; “I’ve never doubted my ability, but I’ve definitely questioned whether I would be able to win out here. It’s really hard to win out here. So I’ve just really hung in there and tried to stick to my process since day one. That was able to get me in the winner’s circle today. I’m really thankful.”
Having started the day in the company of nearest rivals Kang and Tour rookie Bianca Pagdangagan McDonald knew she was in for a tough day and so it proved as Kang grabbed the first birdie of the day on the 2nd to move within one shot before McDonald responded on the 4th. Kang bogeyed five with McDonald carrying a two shot lead at the turn.
But the back nine was where it all happened with McDonald returning four birdies and two bogeys to Kang’s four birdies and one bogey and it all came down to an eagle attempt for Kang on 18. With a shot to tie the lead Kang’s landed to 3-feet and spun back agonisingly along the edge of the hole before she tapped in for birdie after which McDonald duly went on to claim her par and the title.
“It’s very fulfilling for me to finally get that victory. I won’t say over the hump or anything like that because it’s really hard to win out here,” said McDonald. “I’m just going to continue working really hard and try to even get No. 2 after this one. But I’ll definitely soak this in. I’m just really grateful and blessed that I play on the LPGA Tour and am able to do what I love to do every single day.”